It’s been 250 days since I published my last article regarding anxiety. Initially, I look back on this time in frustration and disappointment. I feel like this has been a stage in a repetitive cycle, which I continue to live again and again. Another lull and another moment I let my anxiety overwhelm and stop me from feeling like myself.
I like to be candid, transparent, and genuine with my writing. Nonetheless, It can be hard to feel so vulnerable, especially over such an accessible platform where anyone can read. Last time I ended up reaching more people than I ever expected. That was extremely rewarding, but I put a pressure on myself because of it. Therefore, I haven’t wanted to write out of fear of rejection and a countless number of negative things.
I’d like to say that during this writing hiatus I’ve been doing well, but that would be fictitious in all honestly. It would be nice to say that my anxiety has improved and things are moving in the right direction, or that I’m closer to graduating school and figuring out what I want to do with my life. I want to say I’m happy and that my good days out number my bad ones, but that just isn’t genuine at this time in my life.
The past year has been one of the most difficult for me personally. Another period of continued depression, personal drawbacks, ups and downs in personal relationships, and another semester off school. Simple tasks and regular acts of self care are often difficult to complete. I’m still trying to find a combination of medicines that work for me; after four years of trial and error. I continue to struggle with self harm, seeking validation/reassurance, and coping in general. I have felt completely lost and unlike myself for a while now, but not many people know that.
I’m sharing this because it’s the truth. It’s life and it’s a part of the process. It would be dishonest to say I’ve been doing well and moving consistently onward and up. It’s just not true. This journey has so many ups and downs, and if you are at a plateau, that’s okay! You aren’t alone. It is imperative to remember that it is okay to “not be okay”. The reality is that I have moments of joy and pain, which I recognize equally. There are positives to every situation, and not all of it has been bad. I know I’m learning lessons and having experiences that only help me to grow. I feel signs from the universe have been pointing me in the direction to write again. It’s a part of me that is innate in my existence and of extreme importance to my identity. It has been very hard not feeling like myself mentally, emotionally, or physically. I haven’t felt in tune with the world around me, and that is often discouraging.
I’m writing to be honest about this process. It’s a difficult one and hard to be candid about because it is such a sensitive thing. It’s not easy to share things like this, but I would rather be genuine and truthful than fabricate the days of my life. I believe in a positive mindset, but sometimes it’s refreshing to be real. Depression, anxiety, and any mental illness for that matter are extremely difficult to combat. It takes a very long time and a lot of patience.
It takes perseverance and trust in your process, which is very hard to do. I have to remind myself constantly, because most days nothing seems to feel worth it. I often don’t see anything for the future or worth fighting for. It is hard to ignore the powerful voice of anxiety & depression in your head, but it is possible. Here are some things I need to be reminded of, which help me along in my process:
- You are stronger than your anxiety: you and your mind are so powerful. You have the ability to change your whole perception on life. It’s hard to trust in this, because anxiety has a way of overpowering every thought you have sometimes. You can choose to own your anxiety, or have it own you.
- Be patient: It’s a LONG and individual process for everyone. It requires patience from yourself, your friends, and your family. There are going to be ups and downs, no question about it. Being aware of this and being empathetic towards yourself is helpful. That being said, don’t be hesitant to push yourself. Your anxiety won’t get better unless you take the initiative to work on it.
- Keep using those affirmations that work for you: I constantly use words/phrases of affirmation to keep me on a positive and productive mindset. They can be quotes you like or simple mantras. I often use ones like: “you are not the negative things you think.”, “you have nothing to worry about.”, etc.
- Force yourself to get up and move: it sucks, and I know it often feels like you can’t get out of bed, but the instant I get up and do something…it helps. Sometimes it’s just taking a walk, getting fresh air, picking up around the house, or getting ready and dressed for the day. It doesn’t have to be a full blown work out.
- Rid your life of toxicity and negativity: you have the power to manifest your reality. If something isn’t serving you, then it’s up to you to keep it in your life or not. This could be a habit, relationship of any kind, social media, etc. Anything that brings you anxiety or makes you feel like you aren’t enough needs to go.
- Take care of yourself: whatever that means for you. For me it’s the simple things. I feel better once I get ready for the day; brush my teeth, wash my face, work out, or take time to write. If you take care of yourself it will show. When you feel good you project positivity and bring that energy into your life.
- Be mindful of drinking: this has made a huge difference in my life. I came to notice how bad I feel when I drink excessive amounts, and have recently changed my ways. Everything in moderation I believe, but I have more energy, I’m happier, more productive, and healthier inside/out when I limit how much I drink. Also, if you take medication drinking is really something to be mindful about. Alcohol inhibits the ability of your medicine to do what it is supposed to, and increases the side effects.
- find a support system: for me this has made a huge difference in my process. My friends and loved ones have been the number one thing that keep me going, and mean the most to me. It’s easy to push your support system away and dig yourself in a hole where you are consumed by negative thoughts and lies that you tell your self. We tell ourselves these stories, which simply aren’t true. Although it feels so real, it’s important to recognize that you are in control of you. You have the power to manifest what you want, and you are the only person holding yourself back. The people that stick around are there for a reason. Embrace that, because genuine relationships are truly something to be grateful for.
Also, I would like to give a huge thank you to a wonderful human! Bailey Staggs (@bayyyk)
A couple of weeks ago, I ran into Bailey after not seeing her for a while. She and I have never truly spent a lot of time together, but we both share a genuine connection through mutual interests, mindsets, and creative projects. I love these connections the universe brings! She’s such a light and when I saw her she told me simply enough, “keep writing!” For some reason that stuck out to me, and felt like a little push from the universe. A sign that it was time to get back in touch with this piece of myself, and share my thoughts.
Thanks to Bailey’s words, I’m here posting another article almost a year later. Thank you for being so supportive, kind, and genuine. We truly need more woman like you that lift those up around them.